NATIONAL coach Chot Reyes lauded the defensive effort of the Philippines led by Marc Pingris against Japan, saying it allowed Gilas Pilipinas to start a game strong for the first time in the Fiba-Asia Championship.
Reyes noted that for the first time in the tournament, Gilas played well from start to finish unlike in the preliminary games, and that began by inserting a defense-oriented lineup led by Pingris.
“The reason for our bad start (in the past) was that we weren’t ready to play defense from the opening tip,” Reyes said. “If you noticed, I had a starting five with a defensive lineup of Pingris and Gabe Norwood with Jayson (Castro). It allowed us to get some stops the entire game."
The tough defense gave Gilas an 11-2 edge in steals, while limiting Japan to 37 percent shooting.
Reyes said that Marcus Douthit was a big recipient of the defensive strategy as he finished with 19 points, 19 rebounds, and two blocks.
“It gave a lot of opportunities and gave Marcus a lot of chances,” Reyes said.
Reyes also lauded the offensive game of Japeth Aguilar, who had seven points off-the-bench including slam dunks that brought the crowd to its feet.
But Reyes saved his best words for Pingris.
“Pingris gave us an incredible defensive effort,” Reyes said.